Illuminating York Poetry: St Helen's Square

Posted on 17 January 2013 | Poem

The tourists and bands have gone.

The centre is almost empty.

Families hurry through the square,

well wrapped, to ticketed events:

the coloured fun of Abbey Gardens,

the Minster’s brooding glamour.

Few stay. Fewer sit to watch.

The air is too raw for outside cinema

and the old woman’s image is plaintive,

talking of the hero father she hardly knew.

We watch images of York in ruins,

its Baedeker raid horror.

Another video follows, another life:

the young officer in Afghanistan,

the girl who grew up in army camps.

A caption explains:

‘Armed Services Community presents’…

The watchers melt away,

surprised by emotion.

Above Betty’s Tea Shop the moon

stares down, a single planet

nestling close.
- Pauline Kirk